The Writer’s Experience
“This is going to be a fun assignment,” said my editor. As I read the words “salt cave,” I wondered what I had just agreed to. When I think of local salt, my thoughts immediately drift over to Avery Island. Was I going to be doing some sort of cave tour? Did I even own the right shoes to go on this adventure?
Arriving at Lafayette Salt Cave, I tried to walk in with an open mind – a little bit of salt is good, so a whole room full of it must be better, right? I settled into a zero-gravity chair, covered with a blanket that was provided as therapist, Abby Conques explained what would be happening during our sound bath and guided meditation. I practice meditation regularly, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. Wrong again! Abby’s guided meditation, the atmosphere of the room, and the sound bowls and gongs absolutely transported my mind to a completely tranquil and peaceful place. I walked out of the hour-long session feeling refreshed and absolutely energized. It was as if I had gained a whole night’s rest in the span of an hour. I was invited to place my feet on a detoxing salt lamp orb while I chatted with owner, Marta Wallace Ellinger about what prompted her to open Lafayette Salt Cave.
About the Owner
Marta, a teacher at Prairie Elementary, had her first salt cave experience in January 2019 while visiting friends in North Carolina. She says that she immediately noticed that she felt very relaxed, but it was not until the next morning that she realized how much the salt cave session helped her. She said that she experienced such deep and restful sleep, which was not a common thing for her. By March she was applying for her LLC. Lafayette Salt Cave had a soft opening in August and a grand opening in September.
What is Salt Therapy?
Salt therapy originated in the salt mines and actual caves of Eastern Europe. As miners were working in the salt mines, chipping away at the salt, particles were being released into the air. The salt particles along with other ideal conditions such as air pressure, humidity and circulation provided the salt miners with natural health benefits. Mining was a dangerous for miners’ lives and health, but salt miners did not have the same respiratory issues that other miners had, and because of the quality of their skin, they looked great. Dr. Feiliks Boczkowski was the first to study these effects and he opened the first health facility at the Wielcza Salt Mine in Poland in 1839.
Salt therapy as we know it now developed in Russia in 1985 with the development of the first Halotherapy device. It was not until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 that “Halotherapy” was shared with the rest of the world.
Because Halotherapy is a relatively new technology in salt therapy, there are some misconceptions about how it can be used.
Myth: Salt walls provide benefits.
Truth: The salt walls often seen in salt caves help to insulate the room, reduce noise and create a nice atmosphere, but they have no benefit for breathing or skin. The benefits come from the Halogenerator, which is what creates the salt aerosol.
Myth: Himalayan and Dead Sea Salts have beneficial minerals.
Truth: Studies using these salts have not been conducted and these salts are unstandardized. This means that they may contain impurities such as clay or mud that is not safe to inhale. The use of anything other than pharmaceutical grade sodium chloride is an experimental practice.
Myth: Some is good, more must be better.
Truth: Halogenerators must have a sensor system that constantly monitors the aerosol level. This system signals the Halogenerator to adjust it’s output constantly. Too much salt aerosol in the room can cause bronchiospasms.
While it is important to note that salt caves are not medical facilities and are not intended for the treatment of ailment, but rather to improve overall wellness. The rooms are often full during peak allergy and sinus season in south Louisiana as many have found that salt therapy helps to drain congestion and lessen coughing caused by seasonal allergies and sinus congestion.